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BRA

Robberies raise prospect of retail cash ban

The head of the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) has raised the prospect of a ban on cash in Sweden's retail stores to help tackle the growing problem of robbery.

Robberies raise prospect of retail cash ban

The authority’s director-general Mikael Sjöberg refused to rule out the drastic measure in an interview on Wednesday.

“You can’t rule anything out, it just depends on how risky the situation is. We have very extensive possibilities to explore,” Sjöberg told trade union publication Handelsnytt.

The authority is set to conduct an inspection of 3,000 small stores across Sweden to chart opportunities aimed at improving the working environment.

“It is not acceptable that people go to work in fear and concerned that they could be subject to a robbery, which does actually happen in this sector,” Mikael Sjöberg said.

The Work Environment Authority has previously pushed through cash bans on buses in Sweden after a spate of hold-ups.

Robberies against retailers accounted for 9 percent of all robbery cases reported in Sweden in 2007, according to statistics from the National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå). From just under 400 cases per annum in 1987, the number of cases had more than doubled by 2007 after a peak in 2005.

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IKEA

Ikea to test cash-free store in Sweden

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is going to use its Gävle location to test out whether it can go completely cash-free nationwide.

Ikea to test cash-free store in Sweden
Ikea will go cash-free throughout Sweden if the test is a success. Photo: TT
Ikea said that customers in Gävle, an eastern city best known for its giant straw Christmas goat, were strongly in favour of abandoning cash. 
 
“In our surveys, the vast majority of customers have said that cash payments are no longer important. Today we use a fair amount of resources on handling cash but we’d prefer to use them on something else,” Patric Burstein, the head of customer relations at the Gävle store, told Dagens Nyheter. 
 
Ikea said that its cashless test would begin in Gävle on October 1st. If all goes well, the company plans to eliminate cash payments in all of its Swedish locations. 
 
Department store Åhléns is also testing the idea of going cashless, with three of its locations currently not accepting cash payments. 
 
Swedes use their debit cards three times as frequently as most Europeans and with the popularity of smartphone payment apps like Swish, it has been predicted that Sweden will be completely cash-free by 2030.  
 
The move to ditch cash also has its naysayers, however, with some Swedes worried about the effects on rural areas, pensioners – and personal integrity.
 
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